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How Cytomegalovirus Damages Immune System

Discussion in 'Other Health News and Research' started by heapsreal, Aug 13, 2012.

  1. heapsreal

    heapsreal iherb 10% discount code OPA989,

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    “Most of us carry a virus that ages our immune system and shortens our lives. Can we beat it?” begins a feature story in the June 23 issue of New Scientist.

    The article (“Insidious virus steals our years”) goes on to explain how this virus - the herpesvirus called human cytomegalovirus (CMV) - does its damage; and previews research in the UK to test antivirals that could “help claw back” CMV's immune damage and pursue a preventive vaccine. This work is particularly important for people with chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), many of whom are subject to CMV activations.

    50% to 85% of the Population Infected

    Half or more of the US, UK and Australian populations carry CMV - most often after infection in early childhood when it generally causes a bout of mild mono-like symptoms - without knowing it. But, like all herpesviruses (e.g., the chickenpox/varicella zoster virus and mononucleosis/Epstein-Barr virus), CMV can lie dormant in the body after the acute infection with the ability to reactivate.

    Most people are aware that the chickenpox virus, for example, hides in the nerve fibers and often reactivates as painful, nerve-damaging “shingles” eruptions in older or immune-compromised adults. But until HIV/AIDS came along, researchers assumed CMV was harmless in healthy adults, the New Scientist article explains.

    How CMV Decimates Immune Function

    The AIDS researchers found that - in people infected with the HIV retrovirus - CMV was active and producing bad, sometimes life-threatening problems. And in investigating CMV, they discovered that it insidiously cripples the immune system as follows:

    • Normally, on initial infection with a virus, the immune system trains immune T-cells to remember and recognize the virus in future.

    • However, the CMV virus somehow fools those dedicated T-cells so that they don’t recognize it when it is next encountered.

    • So every time the CMV virus reactivates the immune system regards it as a new, previously unknown intruder, and keeps training up more useless T-cells. This is a process that continues until a large portion of all T-cells are essentially ‘disarmed’, leaving none to recognize CMV, and too few to take on other infections effectively.

    • The result, according to an 18-year tracking study of 500 older adults led by Prof. Paul Moss at the University of Birmingham in the UK, is that life expectancy in CMV-positive individuals (70% of the group) is shortened by an average of four years.

    • In particular, people in his CMV-infected study group were more likely to die from cardiovascular disease, Prof. Moss reported recently at the American Association of Immunologists annual meeting in Boston (“The biology and therapeutic management of the immune response to human cytomegalovirus in health and disease”).

    • The CMV-infected group was also characterized by earlier cognitive decline, poorer health in general, and more susceptibility to infections such as influenza.

    New Hope – Antiviral Trial and Vaccine Development
    Dr. Moss reported on his team’s finding that the number of T-cells able to recognize CMV increased in CMV-infected mice treated with an antiviral drug “used to treat herpesviruses.” Meanwhile, in untreated mice, the number of CMV-dedicated T-cells diminished. Immune resistance also appeared to improve in the treated mice vs the untreated ones.

    Now, according to the New Scientist article, Dr. Moss's team is preparing to run an antiviral therapy trial in a cohort of people over age 65, to see if they can achieve similar improvements in infected humans.

    Meanwhile, Dr. Phil Stevenson at the University of Cambridge is pursuing the development of a vaccine against CMV. So far his team has discovered, in intriguing animal studies that made infected cells glow using a protein that gives fireflies their light, that Epstein-Barr virus invades via cells in the nose.

    Now Stevenson, et al. believe they’re close to identifying specifically which olfactory cells are involved, and how herpesviruses like EBV and potentially CMV are able to bind to them; and are on the trail of antibodies that could keep the viruses from binding to their target cells (i.e., the basis for a preventive vaccine).

    http://www.prohealth.com/library/showarticle.cfm?libid=17131
     
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  2. Sushi

    Sushi Senior Member Albuquerque

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    I participated in what I was told was a successful CMV vaccine trial years ago. I had been negative for CMV and was in a trial at a major US medical center. They told me that the trial was successful and that I now should be immune to CMV.

    With later "wisdom" I wouldn't have participated in such a trial, but in fact I did. Wonder if the vaccine trial itself effected me?

    Wonder what happened to the results of the trial? o_O

    Sushi
     
    merylg likes this.
  3. Nielk

    Nielk

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    This is interesting, Sushi

    Have you had your CMV tithers checked in your blood?
     
  4. Sushi

    Sushi Senior Member Albuquerque

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    They checked them for a while after the vaccine study and said that they showed I was immune. I don't know how the levels of titres for immunity compare with actually having CMS--maybe someone could comment.

    I have been checked in virus panels since and thing I had low titres but I'd have to did out the results.

    Sushi
     
  5. heapsreal

    heapsreal iherb 10% discount code OPA989,

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    I would like to know what antivirals they were trialling for CMV, possibly valcyte??
    Im not sure about accuracy of viral titres as its taken from the blood, where i think they do most of the damage sitting in the nervous system. A lumbar punch would be interesting to check for infections like cmv.
     
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  6. Little Bluestem

    Little Bluestem All Good Things Must Come to an End

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    As long as it was done on someone else. :eek:
     
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  7. Aileen

    Aileen Senior Member

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    What jumped out at me was the following:
    Cells in the nose were shown to be infected first. Which ones in particular? "Viruses like EBV and CMV are known to bind to cells by attaching to a sugar called heparan sulphate, found on the surface of some cells. The only cells in the nose that have the sugar in the right place to bind viruses are those involved in smell. When the group modified EBV so that it could no longer bind to heparan sulphate, they found that the chance of infection dropped to just one-hundredth of that seen with the regular virus."

    How many of us have sensitivities to odours?? Mine are severe. Makes me think perhaps I should get tested for herpes viruses. I don't like the idea of long term anti-viral therapy though. :(

    Just a thought -- maybe they should be taking a nasal biopsy and testing that instead of our blood.:confused: Not sure that I'd be terribly eager to volunteer for that though... :cautious:
     
  8. taniaaust1

    taniaaust1 Senior Member

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    Thanks so much for posting this thread.. it may be the answer to one of the mysteries concerning me. I do carry CMV (I previously read that only about 25% do, so was surprised to see the rates mentioned in this article.. is CMV more common in Australia, US and UK and hence that higher rate?).

    The part of this which really caught my eye was

    I used to have an very obese boyfriend (so his general health wasnt all that great) and we ended up having to have a no kissing relationship as I kept on infecting with something which would send him to bed for a few days with flu like symptoms (it happened 3 or 4 times). Now i really wonder if I could of been effecting him over and over with CMV (before now I couldnt really understand how I kept reinfecting him with something). Not kissing anymore stopped him from getting sick from my visits and kissing.

    Whatever Im carrying.. Ive found that those in good health dont get sick from me (except my latest boyfriend who's now developed the same kind of IBS I have.. I think I may of transmitted some bad bowel flora to him or something).
     
  9. heapsreal

    heapsreal iherb 10% discount code OPA989,

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    off the top of my head, i remember reading how ebv and cmv can reduce interferon release/levels so avoiding the immune system. Interferon has antiviral properties , cycloferon and immunovir are interferon inducers that have had some success in cfs/me. So maybe in cfs/me people, we are more prone to these viruses reactivating in us because of this ability of these viruses to be able to turn down our interferon production. The healthy people who dont have problems with cmv etc reactivating have a strong immune system that keeps pumping out interferon when needed.

    Also interferon plays a big role in nk function, low interferon = low nk function. I think this is possibly how ampligen works as its a strong interferon inducer.
    I think the whole interferon thing is a big peice of the puzzle.
     
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  10. taniaaust1

    taniaaust1 Senior Member

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    Do you know if there has been any studies on ME/CFS and the interferon levels? (is that blood tested?)
     
  11. heapsreal

    heapsreal iherb 10% discount code OPA989,

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    there has been earlier cases where doctors treated patients with interferon but got mixed results, which is why i said its a peice of the puzzle, maybe in combo with antivirals it would work a charm, or antivirals and ampligen???
     
  12. sorin

    sorin Senior Member

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    Is the damage of nervous system by CMV something common in people with CMV or is it rather an exception?
     
  13. Justin30

    Justin30 Senior Member

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    I think its caused when the immune system is compromised then the virus reactivates....i believe this is why it is really bad in HIV patients.
     
  14. sorin

    sorin Senior Member

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    This is what I have read also, but how can I check if my immune system is compromised? Is any specific test for this? I have huge values of IgG CMV and neurological problems. I tested negative for HIV in about 6-7 tests in the last 6 years. Please see this http://forums.phoenixrising.me/inde...-central-nervous-system-because-of-cmv.46488/
    How can be explained in the absence of HIV the huge values of CMV IgG and my neurological problems? What is destroying the immune system, apart of HIV? What else? Cancer?
     
  15. Justin30

    Justin30 Senior Member

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    Cancer yes Paraneoplastic Autoantibodies....

    ME is an immune problem...IOM Report

    CVID could be another....

    Autoimmunity to...not sure though

    You would have to see and be tested by an immunologist for anything to do with the immune system.

    Im not a Dr so I cant say...just from what i have read.

    An immunologist can run many tests.
     

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